When you’re as famous a frontman as Roger Daltrey, that’s the legacy that’ll stick in the long run. The Who singer, however, is hellbent on being known as the public face of the Teenage Cancer Trust, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of teens and young adults with cancer. It first started in England more than two decades ago, and as its main patron, Daltrey has helped the organization expand stateside with Teen Cancer America. Unsurprisingly, that’s what Daltrey’s most passionate about in conversation. But since Radio.com got the man on the phone, of course we had to ask about the Who — especially since Townshend was widely quoted as saying the band would be going on the last tour in 2015.
So, what’s on the Who’s schedule for the coming months?
We’re maybe doing an album next year, and touring in 2015, which will be our last big tour. That’s not to say that we won’t play again. We’ll still do events, and we will find new ways to perform, whether it’s sitting down in smaller venues for a week, so we don’t have to do the schlepping. It’s the schlepping that’s killing us.
Other than you and Pete, who will play on the next album, if you do, in fact, record one?
Who knows? The Who, we’ll always have Pino [Palladino] on bass, I’m sure, and if the music is suitable for Zak [Starkey] on the drums, then great. I don’t know. The Who is Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. And the echoes of John [Entwistle] and Keith [Moon] will always reverberate whenever we play. I can’t tell you who we’ll use if we make a new album, until I hear the music.
For those who aren’t familiar with Teen Cancer America’s mission, can you explain it?
Well, Teen Cancer America has been born out of my work with the Teenage Cancer Trust in Britain, with the ambition and the aim of providing support and hospital facilities for the people with the specific age 13 to 23. Your system, at the moment, include teenagers in a category of people ages 13 to 39. We want to change that. Because 13-year-olds have nothing in common whatsoever with 39-year-olds.
To me, it’s so obvious, especially when you’ve had children of your own, that when they turn 13 , they’re not children, they’re very different from children. And incredibly different from adults. It seems that if it is recognized that children should have children’s hospitals, that it should be recognized for this serious, serious disease that is still the number one disease killing teenagers, that they should have something within the system. I’m not talking about the medicine; I’m talking about the environment.
Obviously, the program in England has been successful.
In England, we noticed by providing this service, we are showing quite significant success — upwards of 7 to percent, maybe even more. If you had a drug that did that, you would receive an awful lot of funding.
— Brian Ives, Radio.com